Google has completely shut down its SMS-powered Search functionality as of May 9th without any previous warning. Multiple attempts to access the SMS shortcode 466453 are met with the following automated message:
“SMS search has been shutdown. You can continue to search the web at google.com on any device“.
Previous to the shutdown, Google had provided SMS-powered services such as general and business search, measurement conversion, and basic address lookup for the past 6 years and the previously dedicated page for SMS search and related services has been completely scrubbed, now returning a rare 404 error without explanation.
“Closing products always involves tough choices, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users. Streamlining our services enables us to focus on creating beautiful technology that will improve people’s lives.”
Google has yet to officially release an announcement on the shutdown outside of its product forums. With the elimination of SMS search and functionality, this forces people without smartphones to rely on data access, despite the biggest users of the service being those that did not have constant or cheap data access to begin with and the service was extremely popular in South Asia, Canada Africa and in the US. With this latest move, Google is essentially forcing these customers to upgrade to a data-dependent platform such as Android, for better or worse.